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Melba Lorraine Melgaard
December 7, 1922 - March 15, 2017

Place of Birth: Larson, North Dakota
Residence: Williston, ND formerly of Columbus, ND
Age: 94

Melba Melgaard, 94, formerly of Columbus, ND, more recently of Williston, ND, passed away at the Bethel Lutheran Nursing Home, surrounded by her family on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Her funeral arrangements are pending with Fulkerson Stevenson Funeral Home of Williston.

Melba Lorraine (Watterud) Melgaard was born December 7, 1922, on the family farm South of Larson, ND in Burke County. She was the 10th child of 13 born to Ole I. and Tilda (Dahl) Watterud. On the March 15, 2017, she quietly entered her heavenly home at the age of 94, with her husband of 61 years, Leonard, by her side. At the time of her death, she was residing at Bethel Lutheran Home, in Williston ND. A woman of faith, she was baptized and confirmed at Bethany Lutheran Church in rural Columbus, where she will also be laid to rest. Melba completed 8 grades at the Sorlie School, south of Columbus ND, and finished her high school days in Columbus.

As a young woman out of high school, Melba moved to Portland OR. There she met and married Herbert Karstetter. Two children were born of this marriage, Randy and Gaylen. After her divorce from Herbert, Melba moved back to Larson, ND. On December 9th, 1955 she married her life-long, dancing and whist partner, Leonard Melgaard. Through this union, Melba was blessed with three more children,; Michelle, David, and Janelle.

Melba lived her life simply, with grace and kindness. Never wanting to bother anyone, she was a selfless caregiver to many. Melba loved to share everything she had, and no one ever stopped by Melba’s without getting fed. She was forever sharing meals with whomever was there (and there always seemed to be someone)--the neighbor kids, her children’s friends and cousins, hired hands, neighborhood friends and family--any and all were welcome at Melba’s kitchen table. Her five children knew growing up that their friends were always welcome at the Melgaard home. In fact, Melba once got a call from the Columbus High School secretary to let her know that there were, in fact, 28 students who listed Melba and Leonard’s house as their “home away from home” on snow days. Melba didn’t bat an eye.

Melba was renowned for her homemade donuts and weak coffee; so much so that in her later years, her great-grandchildren granted her the moniker, “Grandma Donut.” Her first generation grandchildren all agree that days and nights spent in Columbus with Grandma and Grandpa Melgaard make up the majority of all of their favorite childhood memories.

Melba was a wonderful homemaker, mother, and wife. She was a skilled seamstress and an excellent cook; a crossword fanatic; a scrabble player that couldn’t be beat. Along with being a homemaker, mother, and wife, she also did the bookwork for her and Leonard’s business, Melgaard Sand and Gravel, until their retirement in 1992. She was a delight to watch waltzing and two stepping with Leonard over the years, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were so very blessed to receive all of her beautiful hand-made gifts and learn from “Gramma” how to crochet, play cards, and love lefse and lutefisk. Melba was a proud Norweigan American, through and through, and we will all miss hearing her sing, laugh, and tell stories in her native tongue.

In 2001, Melba and Leonard relocated to Williston ND where they made their home until Melba entered Bethel Lutheran Home in 2013. The staff at Bethel became like family to Melba. They treated her with such love and kindness. Melba’s family would like to wish God’s blessings upon the people who cared for our wife, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and grandmother with such incredible compassion in her final years.

Melba is survived by her husband, Leonard Melgaard, of Williston. Also surviving are her children Randy Karstetter (Sherrie) of Bismarck, Gaylen Karstetter (Gurine) of Yuma Az, son-in law Irving Wittmayer of Westby MT, David Melgaard (Debra) Detroit Lakes MN, and Janelle McMillian of Rio Linda CA; a sister Jane (Marvin) Hinrickson of Marysville WA; 10 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; along with many beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.

Melba was preceded in death by her daughter Michelle Wittmayer. She was also preceded in death by her parents Thilda and Ole Watterud; Siblings and spouses (in order of birth), Merton (Harriet) Watterud, Sylvia (Morris) Gillund; Eunice (Jack) JaCroix, Raymond (Mary) Watterud, Mildred (Lawrence) Gillund, Helen (Ed) Pappenfus, James (Mary) Watterud, Donald (Delores) Watterud, Claire (Harold) Burau, Myron (Gerdius) Watterud, and Dale (Thelma) Watterud.

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Ellen and Lee Kensinger (Detroit Lakes , MN)
Mar 16, 2017
We are so very sorry that you have to say goodbye to this fun lady. Hugs to all the Melgaards.
Connie Egge (Epping, ND)
Mar 16, 2017
My dearest Melba... What a joy it was to have cared for you.. You made my work fun and interesting everyday. I'll never forget the afternoon you decided you did not like your hair... So off I was to the beauty shop to find wigs for you to try on... You even tried a pink wig on but settled for a blond one...To Leonard and yours and Melba's wonderful children-- thank you so very much for sharing Melba with me... I luved you to the moon and back Melba... I will always be your ANGEL....Heaven's door was wide open for you as you entered...
Lana J Thompson (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota)
Mar 17, 2017
It is always so hard to say goodbye and that will never change. We need to remember that our loved one will be saying hello to GOD and all the splendor of heaven !! Rest in the comfort of God's arms Melba. There are many memories of you being shared with those you left behind and your LAUGH continuously comes up. You are still making us smile wonderful lady.
Roger Dale Watterud (Brooklyn Center, Minnesota)
Mar 17, 2017
A great loss of a wonderful woman. I will always treasure the many times I had to spend at Melba and Leonard's home and the many memories. It may have been wise to have had a revolving door installed for the many people who visited their place. It seems that I was not the only one who always felt welcome there. Thank you Aunt Melba and Uncle Leonard.
Linda Stordahl (Williston, ND)
Mar 19, 2017
Leonard - My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. In reading her obituary, you and Melba shared alot of fun times together! May she Rest In Peace.
Ida (Grotte, Nd)
Mar 20, 2017
So sorry for your loss of a very gentle lady! I had only the pleasure to meet this ANGEL about 10 years ago with her husband Leonard. I remember thinking to myself how sweet and special that couple were together! Very kind hearted people!
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